CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

Wendy Schenker and Gabrielle Carteris, friends and colleagues at the AFTRA-SAG Inaugural Convention.

Wendy Schenker and Gabrielle Carteris, friends and colleagues at the AFTRA-SAG Inaugural Convention.

I want to Talk about an amazing weekend that accomplished humane generosity, and an historic coming together in the entertainment industry (and a big tickle for me.)

Also, a heads-up for the next Lawrence and Lawrence that will be swimming with aloha spirit.…

There is always a flurry of excitement when delegates arrive from all over the country. We checked in to the JW Marriott, got official IDs, Goodie Bags (with bargains from LA Live hot spots). Renewing old friendships, making new ones. The LA Local sits together, as do the other locals, spread out across the huge ballroom. Then it’s time for business of the union.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka kicked off the first day of SAG-AFTRA’s national convention, setting the stage for the entertainment and media union’s most important governance event since the merger. National President Ken Howard officially opened the convention. “When we work together, we are a powerful voice. When we work together, we are proud and strong. When we work together, we are an unstoppable force that diligently and selflessly works to empower and strengthen the union and our fellow members. We are taking the first, early steps on a remarkable journey. There will only ever be one first SAG-AFTRA convention.” And so we started working, together.

Ruta Lee and Erin Pennacchio, fabulous friends, and fans of Actors and Others for Animals.

Ruta Lee and Erin Pennacchio, fabulous friends, and fans of Actors and Others for Animals.

Many of our Media District neighbors were elected to leadership positions. From Sherman Oaks, Clyde Kusatsu, newly elected President of SAG-AFTRA’s LA Local, rose to national office as the National Vice President, representing Los Angeles. And Gabrielle Carteris, was elected as Executive Vice President of the National Union (also from Sherman Oaks.) Gaby’s dear pal Wendy Schenker was a dedicated delegate and is a Tolucan. We were intense and cheery tablemates during the five convening days, along with National Board member Bobbie Bates of Studio City, who received a standing ovation, appropriate adulation for her years of work that resulted in a brilliant contract, like no other, for dancers.

The days were filled with speakers, workshops (mine was Diversity’s “Knowing Your Rights.”), and delegates speaking to Resolutions and Constitutional changes. An impressive democratic process with all speaking diverse opinions. And then, consensus prevailed.

Highlights for me? Always the “American Scene Awards,” acknowledging producers that depict the diversity of America. And as Senior Chair, creating a parody performance of “Suddenly Seymour,” as “Suddenly Senior” (singing is so happy making). It raised the roof a bit and Susan Boyd Joyce helped make it happen, Dan Navarro was our leading man, Bobbie Bates our dancer, and ably abetted by President Ken Howard who joined in the fun. (Thanks to Amy Aquino for being our champion!)

Andy Palstring, sending love and aloha from the Duo Raw Bar at the Four Seasons Resort, Maui at Wailea.

Andy Palstring, sending love and aloha from the Duo Raw Bar at the Four Seasons Resort, Maui at Wailea.

Before we adjourned, our Leadership gave farewell speeches summing up the convention and the SAG-AFTRA’s future, demonstrating that our future is in good hands. Ken Howard, after an intro that mentioned his many Awards and accomplishments, realized that, of any thing, his work with SAG-AFTRA is the ”best thing I’ve ever done.” Hear, hear.

ACTORS AND OTHERS “BEST IN SHOW” was the best fundraiser with the best staff and volunteers. Big Congratulations to President JoAnne Worley and A&O Exec. Sue Taylor and to Mary Willard who chaired the Event. I could only join this for half, due to double duty, but it was lovely, a full house, with loyal and glittering attendees. It’s good news that a video will be available. (Love to all participants, including Tolucan Leonard Maltin.)

DAVID’S BIRTHDAY: As a preview of next week’s “Lawrence and Lawrence,” let me mention David’s Birthday dinner at the Four Seasons Resort Maui. Starting with cocktails at Ferraro’s with Crissa Hiranaga, sweet and lovely. My sissy drink was in a pineapple, but here is a link to their 100-Mile Cocktail (2nd place winner of all bar specialists) by proud bartender Gabe: taste.fourseasons.com/seasonal-recipe/okole-maluna-cocktail. Alohaaaaa.

Then an unforgettable dinner at Duo. It was hard to think of dinner after indulging at their Raw Bar, (all you want!) manned by cheerful Andy Palstring who helped shuck the oysters and point out the poke, lobster tails, crab claws, et al. A seafood fantasy. Our server Brad, help guide us through crispy pork belly buns to the unexpected Cotton Candy finale. Check webpage for the menu, and all the resorts beauty. Think spectacular.

Next week, two sides of Maui and the lovely hotel and dining experiences. And our sea turtle!

We’ll Talk….